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Euro 2016 qualifying

Germany on track, record for Lewandowski

A Germany team featuring Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and Jérôme Boateng posted an ultimately routine Euro 2016 qualifying victory against minnows Gibraltar on Saturday night. After a patchy first-half performance, Joachim Löw’s side hit their stride in the second half of the final match of the season and signed off for the summer with a 7-0 victory.

Andre Schürrle (28, 65, 71), Max Kruse (47, 81), Ilkay Gündogan (51) and Karim Bellarabi (57) scored the goals in Faro, Portugal. Schweinsteiger captained the team but failed to add his name to the scoresheet when his tenth-minute penalty was saved. Boateng turned in a solid 90-minute display at centre-back and Götze sparkled at the start, but the forward had to be substituted with an injury on 36 minutes. “It’s only a dead leg,” Löw reported afterwards, ruling out a more serious problem.

“We weren’t determined enough in the first half, and I didn’t take my penalty well. But we were better after half-time. We can happily live with a 7-0 win,” commented Schweinsteiger.

Lewandowski’s record hat-trick

A fourth win in six qualifying fixtures takes Germany up to second in Group D behind leaders Poland, 4-0 winners at home to Georgia. The undisputed man of the match was Robert Lewandowski, as the Bayern striker exploded into form at the end of the contest and struck a hat-trick in the space of just four minutes (89, 90+1, 90+3). The feat goes down in the record books as the fastest hat-trick in European Championship qualifying history. Arkadiusz Milik opened for the Poles after 62 minutes.

The other FCB man on international duty at the weekend was Mehdi Benatia, who represented Morocco on Friday evening. The defender and his team-mates opened their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a tight 1-0 victory over Libya.

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